Music Mondays: because life’s better with a soundtrack.

I can’t believe I’ve not yet shared with you the music of one of the most transformational times in my life.

It was 2007 and I was in graduate school. I had the opportunity to attend what would wind up being the penultimate conference of the International Association for Jazz Education.

The music of that week – from some of the most incredible luminaries in jazz – was enrapturing. It was an allstar lovefest.

One of the most incredible experiences of the conference was the performance of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. It’s a big band like you’ve never heard. One of my favorite things about Hollenbeck’s music for this band (one of many groups with which he plays) is the way he writes for the singer.

The voice, belonging to Theo Bleckmann (whose husband happens to be the king of weddings – Preston Bailey), often functions much more as an instrument than as a voice. The tone and syllables often sounding more like horn than human.

And there’s just something about the way Hollenbeck sets text to music that is haunting. So haunting.

Hollenbeck’s “A Blessing” is an album I keep coming back to.

Here’s to a great start to the week!


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